“The most valuable of all capital is that invested in human beings.” -Alfred Marshall
Human Capital is the most valuable resource of our economy. Experiencing stress and trauma at the workplace impacts our economy as well as the mental health of an employee. Although organizations have been doing a lot to promote diversity at work, there is a lot of professional support required when it comes to acknowledging mental health.
Prior to the pandemic, many companies had increased their focus on workplace mental health. With one in five people suffering from mental illness in the US, companies have started to review their company culture in a way where their corporate model promotes the well-being of the employees. Those efforts are even more imperative today. Employers have taken initiatives like mental health day, 4-Day workweek, and counseling sessions, however, they are not enough.
The recent Surgeon General Report on Mental Health and Well-being states 81% of workers say they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future. Mental disorders and health conditions affect the confidence of an individual which reduces productivity. Depression and anxiety cost approximately US$1 trillion to the global economy every year. Indeed, much needs to be done to protect and promote mental health, allowing people to work equitably.
Since 2019, there has been a rapid increase in the number of employees struggling and experiencing mental health challenges. More and more workers are leaving their jobs because of mental health which apparently gave rise to the supposed “Great Resignation” during the pandemic last year. Attribution rates have been surprisingly high. Not only this but mental well-being has caused a diverse effect on the economy globally.
How mental health at work most commonly affects the economy:
- Consistent leave taken by the employees due to physical and mental illness because of the workplace conditions.
- Workplace injuries and accidents due to stress and mental concerns.
- Stress, exhaustion and depression leading to low productivity.
- Inability to complete work.
Employee mental health is one of the important fundamental factors responsible for the growth of an organization. Promoting good mental health within the workplace enables the employees to demonstrate and attract top talent, not only is it beneficial for the business but is also morally important for an employee to feel valued. It increases productivity and motivation, establishes a diverse company culture, and helps employees to deal better with the change.
Embedding well-being into the workforce has become an important aspect in this era. Employers must prioritize the mental health of an individual, but how can one promote wellness within their company? Here are some of the methods prioritizing mental health can be implemented:
- Corporate culture:
Toxic work environments create unwanted depression and anxiety among employees. Eliminating activities like micromanagement, overworking, and corporate politics allows you to build a healthy workforce. Moreover, increasing work-life balance and motivating workers brings a positive impact on the mental state of the workers.
- Flexible work mode:
Providing flexible work options to employees helps companies in building wellness and reduces stress. Employees who have experienced remote work for the first time during the pandemic lead an increase in work-life balance and high productivity. Based on the findings of the Flexjobs 2019 super survey, remote work is the most desired work option among professionals. This is no surprise, as we all have seen the benefits of flexible working models during the pandemic.
- Wellness Training Programs:
Providing support and guidance for those in need is essential not only for employee development but also for the growth of the company. It is important for an organization to build the necessary skills among their employees to have conversations about mental health at the workplace. Managers must be trained to use the right approach with their staff while discussing mental health with sensitivity.
- Employee equity:
Discrimination among employees drains motivation and commitment toward work. Not only does it increase stress and work pressure but also lowers job performance. Dissatisfaction and discrimination increase the attribution rate of the company. Organizations should maintain equality among its employees regardless of race, religion, disability, age, and gender.
- Safe and pleasant working conditions:
It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure the workplace is free from health hazards and dangerous conditions. Industries that deal in dangerous fields such as construction, and chemicals must set some industry-specific standards. In addition, they must provide safety gears and specific training programs for their employees. Creating a pleasant work environment allows your workers to feel safe and will improve their well-being.
- Corporate programs:
Corporate programs have proven to be very helpful for businesses. It improves employee engagement and allows them to be committed to their company. Wellness programs improve retention and increase productivity. Employees are more likely to be creative and complete their tasks in a more effective way. They are various wellness programs ideas companies can add to enhance employee well-being.
- On-site fitness centers
- Health screening events
- Stress management workshops
- Pet-friendly policies
- Employee discounts and perks
- Emergency funds
Promoting mental health allows employees and organizations to prosper and reach their full potential. It shows employees that the organization they work for cares for them which also brings a positive impact on their personal life. So, let’s use this opportunity to create the mentally healthy workplace cultures that should have existed all along.
- Melina Theodorou – How to promote mental health in the workplace.
- Lina Arshad – 5 ways to support employee mental health in the workplace
- Kelly Greenwood and Natasha Krol – 8 ways managers can support employees’ mental health.
Will everyone know what human capital means?